to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

309 North Aurora Street | Ithaca, NY 14850 | info@tccpi.org

TCCPI Member Accomplishments: 2012

Alternatives Federal Credit Union

  • Made over $2.3 million in “Green Loans”
  • Introduced new “Green Certificate” product to generate funds to be earmarked for Green Loans
  • Reduced waste in internal operations
  • Financed energy efficient “pocket Neighborhood”
  • Participant in Building Bridges program connecting economic and environmental issues

ASI Energy

In 2012, ASI Energy strived to increase their sustainable projects and used their resources to better the Ithaca community. Some of their accomplishments for the past year were:

  • Became a trade ally of the RG & E and NYSEG Utilities
  • Completed phase 1 of the Ithaca Downtown District Energy project
  • Became a partner of the United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Worked with the city of Ithaca to pass a resolution in support district energy
  • Received a Sustainable Tompkins Sign of Sustainability Award for supporting local, large scale applications of district heating
  • Partnered with United States Department of Energy on the Downtown District Energy Project
  • Conducted an energy study on the South Hill Business Campus, Beechtree Nursing Care Facility, La Tourelle, and Center Ithaca

ASI Renovations

In 2012, ASI Renovations endeavored to complete green residential and commercial energy retrofits. Some of their achievements include:

  • Became a certified Federal Energy Star Builder
  • Constructed our first Energy Star home
  • Participated in the EmPower New York program where they completed renovations that reduce energy costs for home owners who have a household income below 60% of the state median
  • Tasked several houses for Blower Door Tests which establish the buildings air flow standard
  • Formed the Energize Ithaca initiative to create an Ithaca Downtown Energy District
  • Received certifications from Green Council Fundamentals of Green Building and Construction Management
  • Participated in the Home Performance with Energy Star Program again in 2012. Partners of this program are Energy Star, Building Performance Institute (BPI), and NYSERDA.

Black Oak Wind Farm

  • Completed initial investment round, concluding with 83 local investors and $1.2 million total capital raised. 
  • Turbine selected
  • Layout of towers finalized
  • Studies completed for the draft environmental impact statement

Cayuga Medical Center

  • Began construction of new surgical services suite designed to achieve LEED certification.
  • Completed construction of the new Lab addition and awaiting approval for LEED certification.
  • Completed Phase 2 and 30% design for the biomass CHP study.
  • Implemented an enhanced Reduce Reuse Recycle program throughout the CMC organization, including all off-site facilities.
  • Initiated a study to look at potential benefits of solar panels.
  • Completed an energy audit funded by a NYSERDA grant through ASI Energy.
  • Applied for and received approval for an EV dual charging station grant.                 

 City of Ithaca

  • Completed a detailed inventory of GHG emissions from City operations and community emissions, which provided the basis for an updated Energy Action Plan.
  • Created an active Green Fleet Committee to oversee the implementation of the Green Fleet Policy.
  • Developed and adopted an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing amendment to purchasing policy.
  • Signed a purchase agreement to buy 100% RECs (renewable energy credits).
  • Partnered with Tompkins County’s ReBusiness Program to assess waste management at major City facilities and identify improvement opportunities, and created a Waste Representatives group to collaborate and lead the process.
  • Installed a solar hot water system on Streets & Facilities building and Cass Park building.
  • Installed several energy efficiency upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant.
  • Began collection of methane gas at the wastewater treatment plant.
  • Renewed the community garden lease at the former Carpenter Business Park..

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCETC)

  • In collaboration with our partners at Broome County CCE and PPEF in 2012 we assisted citizens with approximately 260 audits and 40 retrofits in the Southern Tier. 
  • Trained and worked with 9 students to promote energy efficiency through outreach and spoke with nearly 1,000 people at over 50 events. 
  • Worked closely with contractors to examine the efficacy of outreach calling and contacted over 150 homes. 
  • Provided presentations to Cornell Natural Resources classes to demonstrate the 'real world' challenges of outreach and encourage them to become more involved in the community.
  • Fostered collaboration with a Cornell professor to encourage the adoption of Smart Thermostats.  

Cornell University

  • Achieved a campus-wide AASHE STARS gold rating for the second consecutive year. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, is a self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to gauge progress in sustainability.
  • Proposed a cutting-edge Cornell NYC Tech sustainable campus plan
  • Reported carbon emissions reduction of 32% since 2008 (and 7% since 2010). Cornell central campus utility emissions are now 57% below our 1990 emissions.
  • The Human Ecology Building became the first LEED Platinum Cornell building. It includes a Building Energy Dashboard that provides real-time utility data and energy use information in an effort to engage building occupants in reducing our consumption electric consumption and carbon footprint. http://buildingdashboard.cornell.edu/
  • Mann Library garden became the first SITES certified Cornell landscape
  • Launched sustainability training for Cornell managers
  • Advanced sustainability at student orientation (composting and recycling outreach, free re-usable water bottles for all incoming students, etc.)
  • CALS launched the Environmental Science and Sustainability Major and Climate Change Minor
  • CALS Green Energy Conservation & Sustainability Initiative Report and Recommendations was released.
  • Participants in the CALS Green program recorded changes in their energy use that saved more than 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide and more than $200,000 in energy bills. This is the equivalent of a full day of Cornell’s electricity use. CALS Green was Cornell University’s first college-level energy conservation and sustainability behavior change initiative. Sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES), in partnership with the Energy and Sustainability Department, six academic buildings on Cornell’s Ithaca and Geneva campuses competed to conserve energy from November 2010 to November 2011.
  • Cornell's Hydroelectric Plant has increased production by 100% when compared with the 2008 GHG report thanks to a controls upgrade and the efforts made by the Utilities Department to improve output operations and maintenance.
  • A new program allows fume hoods in laboratory spaces to be “hibernated” when scheduled to be out of use for over three months, reducing energy usage by up to $5,000 annually.
  • Since 2010, the Energy Conservation Initiative (ECI) has reduced the energy usage of the subset of the campus involved in the ECI (about 10 million square feet) by about 6%.
  • Numerous Energy Conservation Initiative projects have been completed and energy savings documented. Selected projects include:
  • Guterman Greenhouse – saves the equivalent energy of 287 homes
  • Statler Hall - saves the equivalent energy of 196 homes
  • Lynah Rink - saves the equivalent energy of 30 homes
  • Kroch Library> – saves the equivalent energy of 78 homes
  • The 2012 Holiday Setback Program saved approximately 1000 metric tons of CO2 emissions
  • Erin Moore has been hired as Cornell’s Energy Outreach Coordinator
  • Begin development of micro-hydro project at Forest Home  A report has been finalized and a meeting was held with Jonathon Miller.  It appears that the costs are higher than expected and the local community has not reached back to Cornell for any further guidance.
  • Through the funding made possible by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council has recently announced that they are awarding Cornell University $616,000 to advance in energy efficiency projects and studies. In doing so, this will help to help the university achieve its goal to become carbon neutral by 2050.
  • Building energy use intensity metrics have been developed to monitor building energy use over time and prevent degradation of performance.
  • The Lights Off Cornell student group continues to recruit volunteers to turn off lights in campus buildings – to date they’ve turned off more than 400K lights, saving more 62K kg or CO2.
  • The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future selected 10 research projects for its 2012 Academic Venture Fund awards with total funding of approximately $735,000 (a summary of these awards is available in PDF format). Projects include Distributed-Scale Biorenewable Hydrogen Generation, Improving Energy Cost and Scalability of Algal Biofuels, Probing the Micromechanics of Shale under Varying Fluid Compositions, Climate Protection as a Driver for Job Creation for New York State, and Energy Harvesting from High-Density, Small-Scale Turbines in Urban Areas.
  • Tree Campus USA certification for three years in a row and have a completed campus tree inventory to which we are adding ecosystem services information.

Downtown Ithaca Alliance

  • During 2012, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance continued its effort to position downtown Ithaca as one of the region’s most sustainable and green centers of commerce. Fundamental to all of our sustainability efforts is the location of downtown as the geographic hub of the community:
    • the center of transportation;
    • the center for civic affairs;
    • the second largest hub of regional employment;  
    • a center for arts and entertainment;
    • a center for retailing and shopping;
    • a center for restaurants and food/beverage;
    • a key regional tourism, destination and draw;  and
    • a growing center of residential living.
  • Growth and development that locates in this hub is inherently more sustainable. It uses existing community infrastructure. It makes optimal use of public transit. It maximizes walking and non-automotive transportation.
  • Among the items addressed in 2012 were:
  1. Efforts to Cluster Major New Development in Region’s Core:  This initiative includes recruitment, promotion, and support of over $130 million of public and private development projects in Ithaca’s downtown area. This includes the addition of about 280 new hotel rooms, approximately 200 new residential units, a new conference center, and new office and retail space.
  2. A Walkable Downtown and new Pedestrian Mall: The DIA worked with the City and others to spearhead a complete curb-to-curb rebuild of the Ithaca Commons including new energy-efficient utilities and an enhanced pedestrian surface with new trees, perennial plantings, and solar trash compactor units. The Commons remains one of only 25 pedestrian malls in the United States.
  3. New York Main Street Program: The DIA successfully competed for and received state grant funds for the restoration of 3-4 existing buildings in the Ithaca Downtown Historic District.
  4. District Heating/CHP: The DIA is working with Energize Ithaca, Inc. to forward a Combined Heating and Power program that intends to cut downtown Ithaca’s carbon footprint by 30-40%. Center Ithaca has signed on as a proto-type CHP hub.
  5. Downtown Zoning: The DIA has led an effort to adopt a new City of Ithaca zoning package that promotes smart growth through greater density in downtown Ithaca’s urban core as a counter to continued suburban sprawl.
  6. Transit Corridors: The DIA is working with the City and TCAT on a transit corridor plan to improve bus service between downtown Ithaca and the campus communities.
  7. Shared Recycling & Trash Program:  The DIA has been helping to coordinate a shared recycling and trash compactor program to encourage proper recycling on and around the new Commons.
  8. Plastic Bags: The DIA has been surveying merchants and researching options and alternatives to sustainable plastic bags for downtown retailers. A possible program is being formulated.
  9. Special Event Recycling: The DIA has been working with community groups to provide composting and recycling systems for major downtown events, including Apple Harvest Festival, the Summer Concert Series, and Chili Cook-Off.
  10. Transportation Demand Management: Preliminary research and committee work on a transportation demand management plan began in 2013. The goal of the DIA is to remove 400 private vehicles from downtown Ithaca, obviating the need for an additional parking garage.
  11. Promoting and Incubating the Sustainability Center: The DIA helped to launch the new Tompkins County Sustainability Center, located in the downtown BID on North Geneva Street. The Center hired an Executive Director and opened its doors on a temporary site.

EcoVillage at Ithaca- Center for Sustainability Education

  • Climate Showcase Communities EPA Grant: In partnership with the Tompkins County Planning Department, EVI-CSE has completed the second year of a three year EPA grant to document and disseminate the lessons learned from its twenty years of experience in building an internationally recognized sustainable community.
  • Of the three pilot Climate Showcase projects, two are under construction: the 40 unit TREE neighborhood at EcoVillage, which is building to rigorous Passive House standards, and the Aurora Pocket Neighborhood, which demonstrates similar principles on a small infill project in downtown Ithaca. Both these projects, and a proposed County project, are expected to achieve 80% reduction of greenhouse gases compared to typical U.S. residential buildings.
  • A new website documents the concepts and progress to date at www.community-that-works.org  Project team members have presented at multiple regional and national conferences.
  • The TREE neighborhood at EcoVillage appeared in the national publication, Energy Design Update, with the article "An Exercise in Efficiency, Community, and Planning: EcoVillage TREE Neighborhood", in December, 2012.

Finger Lakes Land Trust

  • Completed first link in Emerald Necklace, connecting Hammond Hill with Yellow Barn State Forests; constructed handicapped accessible boardwalk and mile-long connecting trail at site.  Elsewhere in the Emerald Necklace; also completed five conservation easement projects within Emerald Necklace – securing 541 acres of forest habitat
  • Dedicated the Van Riper Conservation Area & Whitlock Nature Preserve on the west side of Cayuga Lake featuring 1,900 feet of undeveloped shoreline.  Located in southern Seneca County, the site is located on the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway and is now open to the public. 
  • Completed a conservation easement on 650-acre Great Gully Farm – an iconic landmark located on the east side of Cayuga Lake between Aurora and Union Springs.  Farm features sweeping views of the lake as well as more than ½ mile of frontage on both banks of Great Gully.
  • Successfully promoted development of the Cayuga Water Trail through planning partnership with three counties; completion of promotional paddle from Ithaca to Oswego and by holding inaugural “Celebrate the Lake” event at Ithaca Farmer’s Market.

Get Your Greenback Tompkins

  • In 2012 GYGB set out to “inspire every household in Tompkins County to take at least one action they have not taken before to save money on energy use in buildings, food, transportation and waste by the end of 2012.” By so doing, the campaign would help the community make progress towards “reducing greenhouse gas emissions, build a more resilient community, and ensure that all members of the community were supported in saving money on energy, getting a job or growing their business.”
  • Some 40,000 campaign-related steps have been taken related by our accounting. The campaign has without a doubt directly contributed to households taking steps and advanced the county towards reduced emissions and greater resilience by strengthening its natural, human, social, and financial capital.

Other GYGB accomplishments included:

  • Identifying, training and supporting 10 Community Educator/Organizers (CEOs), who are actively engaging their own networks, including food pantries, churches and schools, to share and gather information, and encourage step-taking.
  • Establishing key relationships with schools, churches, restaurants and farmers, Building Bridges, media (e.g. Ithaca Times, Finger Lakes Community Newspapers, Tompkins Weekly, Ithaca Journal, publish regular columns; WRFI, WICB, other one, and 7 Cayuga Radio Group Stations use PSAs). Building three types of relationships is at the heart of the campaign: connecting people and sector organizations; people to each other to inspire each other with their own stories; and organizations to each other to foster collaboration.
  • Crafting the Step of the Month system. The step of the month has been the organizing strategy for sector collaboration, and has served as a vehicle for raising awareness around different steps and sectors covered by the campaign. Some months of note include June 2012, where the campaign compiled a list of over 20 reuse stores, linking them together, and raising their own awareness of how they are contributing to this campaign. Streets Alive! took place in September. GYGB played a pivotal role in seeing around 2,000 people turn out for this first time event, especially taking the lead with outreach (e.g. churches along the route, RIBs and bike shops), and media promotion.
  • Building an effective Communication system. Without paying an extra penny, every month the campaign reaches 10s of 1000s of people across the County through listservs, newsletters, Facebook pages, PSAs, newspaper articles, posters, sometimes flyers sent through schools, and more.
  • Leveraging volunteer time and community resources: Approximately 250 student volunteers from Cornell Public Service Center’s “Into the Streets” day of service plus volunteers from Ithaca College and a few CEOs conducted over 1,100 surveys in over a dozen locations, including in the City of Ithaca, Caroline, Trumansburg, and Dryden. With free support from Cornell’s CISER, we are entering data and will use results to inform action. Five professionals from Leadership Tompkins worked on developing a “Green Benefit Package” for large employers in the county.
  • Developing an effective peer-to-peer outreach model, working with CCE’s energy corps, composting educators, and, master gardening program, to develop one-time hands-on workshops that can be hosted in people’s homes. 

HOLT Architects

  • As a matter of policy, HOLT makes use of every reasonable opportunity to encourage its clients to consider implementing a wide range of sustainable design and construction practices. Most of these are specific targets of LEED® Rating System prerequisites and credits, although the majority of our projects are not pursuing LEED certification, and we encourage implementation of these practices where appropriate regardless of whether LEED certification is a desired target.
  • HOLT continues to actively endorse and pursue on-going staff education with regard to understanding sustainable design practices, and acquiring knowledge of sustainable materials and technologies. In this vein, HOLT also promotes and assists staff who desire to become LEED Accredited Professionals, as well as those who are pursuing LEED Continuing Education requirements. Starting in 2011 and adopted as on-going practice in 2012, HOLT has budgeted sending staff to the annual New York State Green Building Conference to assist in on-going pursuit of sustainable continuing education at an aggressive level.   
  •  In 2010 HOLT had signed the American Institute of Architects’ AIA 2030 Commitment, consisting of the following goals:
    • All new buildings, developments and major renovations shall be designed to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 60% below the regional (or country) average for that building type.
      • At a minimum, an equal amount of existing building area shall be renovated annually to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 60% of the regional (or country) average for that building type.
      • The fossil fuel reduction standard for all new buildings and major renovations shall be increased to:
        • 70% in 2015
        • 80% in 2020
        • 90% in 2025
      • Carbon-neutral in 2030 (using no fossil fuel GHG emitting energy to operate).
      • These targets may be accomplished by implementing innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable power and/or purchasing (20% maximum) renewable energy.
    • In signing the 2030 Commitment, HOLT also committed to the following:
      • Sustainable Operations: All aspects of sustainable practices with regard to physical plant, with particular emphasis on energy efficiency, waste reduction and material conservation. To include identification of four operational action items to be implemented within six months
      • Sustainable Business Strategy: Development of a business strategy that communicates why a sustainable design approach is important.
      • Reporting of energy and water use metrics for each design project.
      • Development of a long range sustainability action plan that aligns with the stated 2030 benchmarks for achieving carbon neutrality.
    • In 2012 HOLT initiated conversation with Solar Liberty from Rochester, NY regarding the potential for installation of a photovoltaic array on the roof of the Crescent Building.
  • HOLT Associate Andrew Gil was elected to serve on the 2012 Board of Directors of the United States Green Building Council New York Upstate Chapter, and was subsequently nominated to serve on the Board’s Executive Committee as Secretary. HOLT supported Andrew’s efforts in this capacity, in which Andrew contributed to and furthered HOLT’s commitment, through advocacy and education, to the promotion of sustainable design and construction practices within the built environment.
  • HOLT began plans for its 50th Anniversary celebration in 2013 with a gala to be held in January-February, including celebrated architect and sustainability advocate Ed Mazria to deliver the keynote address. Mazria is the founder of Architecture 2030, an organization dedicated to promoting design with progressively higher energy efficiency, with an ultimate goal of carbon-neutral building designs by 2030. 

Ithaca Carshare

  • Ithaca Carshare saw continued growth in 2012, expanding their membership to 1,300 members and their fleet to 21 vehicles, including a minivan and pickup truck.  
  • The international Carsharing Association (www.carsharing.org) awarded Ithaca as the best city for carsharing in 2012.  2-3% of all residents in the Ithaca Urbanized area are carsharing members, which represents the highest market saturation for carsharing of any city with a carsharing organization. 
  • The low-income Easy Access membership plan, which subsidizes regular membership costs by more than half and reduces financial barriers to getting started with carsharing, received funding for the third year. Membership on the Easy Access plan grew from 28 to 41 members during 2012.

Ithaca College

  • 50% complete on installation/upgrade of electric and natural gas sub-meters on campus
  • Completed campus-wide energy assessment with Recommissioning in 10 buildings
  • Submitted a CHP proposal for the A&E Center as part of a partnership with ASI to NYSERDA
  • Began a feasability study for 3 regional central heating plants on campus to include CHP capability
  • Developed a load management plan to include building optimization and peak shaving/load management to reduce carbon emissions and energy usage
  • Installed PEP Electric Vehicle charging station to be open to the public and operational in 2013
  • Hill Center major renovations underway to include upgrade to all building systems {lighting, HVAC, motors, etc} and exterior shell, windows and roof
  • Student groups working on classroom and computer lab audits, residence hall dashboards, and energy saving/carbon reduction projects
  • Boiler replacements in 3 buildings on campus

Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport

  • The airport, in partnership with our long-time consultants C&S Companies of Syracuse, set in place a process for all future capital improvement projects (CIP). For all CIPs, the design team will ALWAYS include a sustainability expert who will evaluate and recommend ways to include sustainability in such projects. I can't over-emphasize the importance of this initiative.
  • An expansion of the Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting Building included several sustainable elements including a "white" roof, polished concrete floors to eliminate the use of chemicals, and total re-use of the old brickwork.
  • Lease of a Chevy "Volt" battery/gasoline vehicle which is averaging over 50 mph since we've had it. With an average of 45 miles available on the battery, most days it uses no gasoline for short trips around town.
  • Installation of a test strip of low-grow, low-mow grass that we hope can eventually replace all the grass on the airfield.
  • Began negotiating for a solar array on the airfield which is slated to provide enough power for all County airport buildings, including the terminal and runway lighting system. This is awaiting approval from the FAA.
  • Began looking into the feasibility of an Alternative Fueling Station that would be located to allow both airport and public access. Looking for a third party to finance this.
  • Examining options for installation of Electric Vehicle plug-in stations in the public parking lots and at County airport buildings. This may need to be incorporated into a bigger project where the extensive electrical connections could be funded with a federal grant.

Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council

  • Awarded a NYSERDA Grant to set up a web based ridesharing program for Tompkins County. See Zimride Tompkins at http://www.zimride.com/tompkins .
  • The three year Zimride Tompkins project kicked off in January 2011 with three web portals for participation: Cornell University, TC3, Ithaca College and a community-wide portal. The NYSERDA agreement will end early Fall 2013.
  • Program has continued to increasing steadily. Cornell is one of the busiest university based Zimride programs in the nation.
  • We continue to look for more participants. The more people use the system the more effective it is. This project has proven that there is a demand for implementation of a   ride sharing program in Tompkins County. Our ongoing challenge is to develop a program that will be financially and operationally sustainable.
  • Continued the ongoing implementation of the federally required Coordinated Human Services-Public Transportation Plan has resulted in increased resources and services for low income, disabled and senior populations in the Tompkins County. Funded programs include driver training, rural demand response transit, volunteer driver programs, low-income family subsidies for Carshare, travel training programs. More information on the Coordinated Plan can be found at: http://tccoordinatedplan.weebly.com/index.html
  • Continued to implement the multi-county Regional Transportation Study in 2012. The study area covers Tompkins County and its adjacent counties: Cortland, Tioga, Chemung, Schuyler, Seneca and Cayuga. The study recommendations present strategies to provide more and better mobility options for people moving between counties. A regional coalition is continuing to meet to try to advance the recommendations of the study.
  • The ITCTC completed development of its 5-year program of transportation projects using Federal funds. This challenging process resulted in securing funding for a number of high priority project for our community including: completion of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail, numerous bridge maintenance projects and pedestrian safety improvements for City of Ithaca traffic lights.

Local First Ithaca

  • Membership topped 150 local businesses, organizations & non-profits
  • Published our 2nd issue of the annual "Guide to Being Local"
  • Convened our 2nd Community Capital Workshop with Michael Shuman for over 60 community leaders, entitled "Revitalizing Our Regional Economy from the Inside Out- Part 2".
  • Held the 5th Annual Local Lover Challenge, a community-wide Buy Local initiative
  • Co-founded New York State Sustainable Business Council (NYSSBC), the NYS chapter of the American Sustainable Business Council. (Businesses against Fracking New York is an initiative co-sponsored by NYSSBC and New Yorkers Against Fracking that launched on in 2013. Our goal is to help provide a voice for businesses that support a ban on fracking in New York, and will work together to build an economy based on energy efficiency, conservation, and safer, renewable energy production).  

Paleontological Research Institution (Museum of the Earth and Cayuga Nature Center)

  • Extensive work was done to prepare two major additions to the permanent exhibits at the Museum of the Earth, to open May 2013. The exhibitions are part of the Museums’ Our Dynamic Climate project.
    • The glacier exhibit will allow visitors to feel as if they are immersed in an ice cave as they learn all about glaciers: their characteristics, locations around the world, connections with climate, and impacts on animals and humans.
    • The coral exhibit will feature two 500-gallon tanks hosting coral ecosystems. Each exhibit focuses on the effects of our changing climate on these different aspects of the Earth system.
  • Weird Weather: Two kiosks focusing on local impacts of climate change on weather, agriculture, public health, and the economy were built. They were first put on display at the New York State Fair and the Museum of the Earth. They have since been traveling around Upstate New York, including the Cayuga Nature Center, the Ulysses Philomathic Library in Trumansburg, the Town of Dewitt near Syracuse, and the Buffalo Audubon Society.
  • The Museum of the Earth made plans to host the traveling exhibition Our Expanding Oceans in early 2013.  Our Expanding Oceans is a comprehensive educational exhibition that utilizes the beautiful silk batik work of Mary Edna Fraser to tell the story of global climate change, supported by scientific text by Dr. Orrin Pilkey, Professor Emeritus of Geology at Duke University.
  • In fall 2012 the Cayuga Nature Center began expanding climate change education programming, through grants from the National Science Foundation and the Park Foundation.
    • PRI purchased a wide variety of environmental education equipment that will help us incorporate hands-on activities climate and climate change in the forest around the Nature Center.
    • A new digital weather station, courtesy Mark Wysocki’s research at Cornell University, was added to the Nature Center grounds that allows us to track weather data through time. 
    • Planning was started for new exhibits incorporating climate change.
  • PRI dedicated its annual Darwin Days celebration (February 12-19) to the theme of “Evolution and Climate Change.” As human activity alters the Earth, we can study fossils and the rock record to understand past change and help predict the consequences of human-induced climate change today. Living things are beginning to respond to modern climate change, as populations are affected in both natural and agricultural settings. The week included:
    • talks by environmentalist Thomas Lovejoy and paleoclimatologist Thomas Cronin;
    • panels on climate-related adaptation and extinction, and on impacts upon agriculture and natural ecosystems.
    • family-friendly activities in the Museum of the Earth on climate change, also associated with “Ithaca Loves Teachers” week (February 15-19).
  • PRI’s Don Duggan-Haas continued to be involved with the Climate Literacy Network, the group responsible for the Climate Literacy Principles.
  • PRI has been involved in helping craft the Western New York Environmental Alliance's plank on energy conservation. WNYEA (GrowWNY.org) is an alliance of more than 80 groups and institutions, including PRI, that work on environmental issues in Western New York. WNYEA members will demonstrate leadership in reducing the environmental impact caused by energy use by both cutting their own energy use and promoting energy conservation to their constituencies.

Park Foundation

  • Park Foundation is in the process of designing its new office to meet LEED Platinum - Commercial Interiors, with an expected completion date of January 2014.
  • The Foundation is engaged in an operational greening program through Green Plus, a triple bottom line education, networking and recognition program. Green Plus provides members with the resources they need to improve their bottom line through sustainability initiatives.
  • In 2011 the Foundation committed to a plan to move 100% of its portfolio to Socially Responsible Investing, which seeks to align the foundation's investments to be consistent with its program philosophy. The Park Foundation screens a portion of its portfolio along Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) screens to exclude corporate investments that are inconsistent with its mission. The Foundation also invests in funds that incorporate sustainable investments.
  • The Foundation engages in Proxy Voting which includes voting on shareholder resolutions to improve corporate performance. The Foundation actively votes its proxies along ESG guidelines.
  • On a limited basis, the Foundation initiates, participates in and assists grantees in participating in shareholder resolutions. Topics have included hydraulic fracturing gas drilling, factory farming, consumer nutrition, and media.
  • Program Related Investments are low or no-cost loans the Foundation makes to nonprofit organizations that help advance its program mission. Currently the Foundation allocates up to 1% of portfolio value to PRIs.
  • The Foundation supported organizations working to address climate change and build a clean energy future through local and national grantmaking.

Renovus Energy

  • Celebrated 10th anniversary this year
  • Installed more than 230 kW of photovoltaics in the past year, 22 solar thermal systems, 2 energy efficient home heating systems and assisted in the installation of 2 wind energy systems
  • Installations utilized industry best practices and only the highest quality materials
  • Employees participated in many energy-related community events and neighborhood programs
  • Employees attended more than 208 hours of industry trainings throughout the last year


The Sciencenter takes a triple-bottom line (environmental, societal, and financial) approach to sustainability. We consider these three elements from two perspectives: internal (organizational) and external (community and beyond).  Each year, we seek to advance all six components of sustainability.

Environmental (Internal: Management - External: Education)

  • Created new exhibition on worldwide wildlife and habitats
  • Powered the museum’s electricity with 100% renewable power for the 6th consecutive year.  
  • Began a national tour of major traveling exhibition Ocean Bound! on watershed health and ocean conservation.
  • Delivered field trips on the topic of renewable energy to 400 2nd grade students in Tompkins County through the Kids Discover the Trail! program.  
  • Delivered ocean health and science field trip to over 750 2nd grade students in rural Tompkins County and Cortland City School District through the Sciencenter’s endowment.
  • Promoted our online Climate Change Toolkit, a suite of climate change education resources for formal and informal educators at schools, museums and other venues: www.sciencenter.org/climatechange
  • Continued development of “Sustainability Corner” with exhibits on waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, composting, and consumer behavior. 

Societal (Internal: Staff – External: Community, & Museum Field)

  • Supported local health and human services agencies by participating as a United Way Pacesetter Organization
  • Supported other organizations with 25 staff volunteering for 35 different organizations in Tompkins County and beyond
  • Implemented a program to update the content for the annual science center conference, benefitting 500 science centers and 60 million visitors worldwide

Financial (Internal: Organization – External: Community)

  • Grew the Sciencenter endowment to $2.6 million, with the goal of providing sustained funding for the museum and its programs
  • Sciencenter director chaired Tompkins County Area Development board of directors
  • Visitors to the Sciencenter from out-of-county spent nearly $1.000,000 in Tompkins County during 2012

Snug Planet

  • Completed building envelope improvements on more than 80 residential and commercial buildings in Tompkins County and surrounding areas.
  • Received awards, including NY Home Performance with Energy Star Southern Tier Top Performing Contractor 2010-2011.
  • Completed two deep energy retrofits, comprehensive projects which aim to reduce a home’s heating and cooling energy use by 70% or more.  Began tracking post-improvement energy use on deep energy retrofit houses.
  • Partnered with Taitem Engineering and DOW Building Solutions to conduct original research on best practices for deep energy retrofits.
  • Worked with EcoVillage at Ithaca to develop specifications for super-insulated houses in the third neighborhood (TREE);  received the contract to insulate the first cluster of TREE houses to meet the extremely strict Passive House standard.
  • Began exploring the use of community-based social marketing tools to enhance the effectiveness of the NYSERDA free/reduced cost residential energy audit program.

Taitem Engineering

  • Aeroseal of Ithaca, a division of Taitem Engineering, successfully sealed the ventilation ductwork of two multi-family buildings in New York City, one multi-family building in Pennsylvania, and several single family buildings in upstate New York.  Aeroseal is a technology for sealing ductwork. Duct leakage can account for as much as 50% of the energy use in forced air systems, and Aeroseal can reduce leakage by 90%.
  • Taitem Solar Systems has successfully installed over 45 kW of Solar PV on residential, commercial, and municipal rooftops and is now a Sungevity Partner allowing them to offer leases to their customers.
  • SynairCo, a company derived from one of Taitem’s research projects, was acknowledged as one of the 50 most promising privately held green tech companies in NY at the Green Tech Monster Event held in NYC.
  • Sustainable Tompkins acknowledged Taitem’s work as one of this year’s “Signs of Sustainability” award recipients. Taitem received three acknowledgements for:
    • Energy reduction efforts to our downtown office buildings (109 and 110 South Albany Street)
    • For work with Snug Planet on the “Deep Energy Retrofit” projects
    • The expansion into Solar PV installation contracting
  • Taitem’s research article “Weatherstripping Windows with V-strip” was published in Home Energy Magazine.
  • Ian Shapiro’s article “The Receptivity of Roofs to Solar Panels” was presented and published at the 2nd World Sustainability Forum.  The Forum is an e-conference that covers research in many areas relating to sustainability and sustainable development.
  • Taitem was awarded funding from NYSERDA to install an electric vehicle charging station on Taitem property for the public’s use.
  • Taitem provided design, commissioning, and LEED documentation for the newly awarded LEED Platinum Maguire Toyota Automotive building.
  • Taitem is currently under review for becoming a certified B Corporation.  B Corps are a new type of corporation which use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
  • One of Taitem’s Senior Structural Engineers, Javier Rosa, is now an adjunct professor at TC3 teaching students the basics of building design.
  • Taitem welcomed two new partners to the company, Yossi Bronsnick and Beth Mielbrecht, and are joined by the five other partners,  Umit Sirt, Daniel Cogan, Javier Rosa, Lou Vogel, and Ian Shapiro.
  • Taitem created a fundraising team to support Team Rubicon’s crew of volunteers in the NY/NJ area who helped to assist with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Tompkins Cortland Community College

  • Tompkins Cortland Community College continues to work diligently to fulfill their commitment as a signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The commitment occurs in two areas. The first is the educational process to make the students and staff aware of the environmental issues associated with climate change and the environment and then to provide them with alternatives to assist them in making choices to reduce their impact on the environment and to provide them the training and skills that will be needed for employment in the many opportunities in the green technology fields. The second is to reduce the carbon footprint at the college to a net zero value.
  • Education:
    • TC3.biz has purchased solar equipment to use in their educational programs designed to provide hands on training to students for employment in the green energy field.
    • During Earth Week provided the students and staff with the opportunity to pledge to do one task that will be a positive sustainable effort. Several hundred pledges now decorate the wall in the main entrance to the College. A class in the preparation of meatless dishes was well attended.
    • The College has developed 2 new programs that have been approved by the Curriculum Committee and the Board of Trustees. These are a sustainable agricultural program that will have a working farm on property just north of the campus. The produce from the farm will be provided to the food service for the College as well as to a new culinary lab and restaurant that will be located in Ithaca.
    • The students have voted to support a resolution that will approve a fee to be used for carbon offset projects. When approved the students will be an integral part of the process to review and approve the funding of projects.
  • Transportation:
    • Transportation continues to be the greatest challenge since TC3 is a commuter school. This accounts for more than 50% of the carbon footprint for the college. To reduce the impact of the daily commute TC3 promotes the use of ZIMRIDE on our website to encourage students and staff to car pool. More staff and students are using public transportation and TCAT has responded by increasing the service to the College and the residence halls.
  • Waste Reduction:
    • TC3 Continues to recycle paper, glass, cardboard, electronics and steel. The composting program continues to provide education to the student population in the need to participate in this program. In 2012 the College diverted over 95 tons from the landfill.
  • Energy:
    • TC3 continues to look for and implement measures to reduce energy use on campus. When the energy use for our 2011-2012 academic year is adjusted to reflect the almost 30% warmer winter the energy use index continued to drop from the over 76,000 btus/square foot to about 71,000 btus/square foot.
  • Renewable Resources:
    • The college completed, with Solar Liberty, the installation of a 50 kW photovoltaic array in January, 2013.

Tompkins County Council of Governments

  • In anticipation of gas drilling in the southern tier, shared information and examples relative to road use and road preservation laws across municipalities       
  • Coordinated efforts to write gas drilling bans and moratoriums among several municipalities
  • Encouraged the installment of leased solar panels on municipal buildings.
  • Completed white paper of Assessment and Tax Revenue from Gas extraction and conducted community forum on this information
  • Conducted Community Forum on gas Pipelines and their regulation
  • Conducted a public hearing on the gas drilling regulations

Tompkins County Planning Department

  • Completed work on the County Energy Road Map with four graduate-students from Cornell University to develop reports detailing the potential and existing energy supplies in Tompkins County.  The results of their work were presented at public meetings in the spring of 2012. In the fall, two new students were engaged to further the studies.
  • County Planning, in partnership with Cayuga Medical Center, commissioned a study of the potential for combined heat and power and district energy to serve proposed development in the vicinity of the hospital. In addition, TCPD staff continued to work with partners to explore district energy for the Ithaca Commons and the Emerson site on South Hill.
  • Implemented the second year of Tompkins County’s Climate Showcase Community EPA grant to fund innovative on-the-ground approaches to creating dense neighborhoods that enhance residents’ quality of life while using fewer resources.  Accomplishments included: finalizing model zoning regulations, identifying potential developers for the County-owned land on West Hill, working with consultants to brand and market the project nationally, and supporting construction of the third neighborhood at EcoVillage and the Aurora Pocket Neighborhood.
  • Completed the draft Cleaner Greener Southern Tier Regional Sustainability Plan, an 8-County plan that includes a region-wide greenhouse gas emissions inventory and actions to further the Plan’s vision.
  • Completed the draft Tompkins County Multi-Jurisdictional All-Hazards Mitigation Plan Update to further reduce risks associated with hazards while incorporating projected impacts from climate change.
  • The Tompkins County Healthy Homes Rehabilitation Program completed energy audits for nine homes, repaired or replaced three dilapidated roofs, and replaced three failing septic systems.
  • Completed designs for Sustainability Center displays addressing energy use in buildings, transportation alternatives, and solid waste.
  • The County Legislature endorsed the Development Focus Areas Strategy, which outlines actions to be taken to focus most new development in compact mixed-use communities. The Legislature also endorsed the Conservation Strategy, which presents actions to be taken to conserve critical natural and agricultural resources.
  • Worked with Solar Liberty to install and lease solar PV on seven County facilities to generate 235 KW of solar energy for Tompkins County operations. Explored feasibility of installing 1 MW of ground-mounted solar at the Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport.

Tompkins County Solid Waste Management

  • Commercial fiber and waste diversion sorting initiated at Recycling and Solid Waste Center (RSWC).
  • Five year contract awarded to Casella Waste Management Services for countywide residential curbside collection of recyclables, expanding service to apartment complexes and small businesses.
  • Developed and implemented a strategy to launch a multi-year food scrap recycling program, including a drop off location at the RSWC public drop-off area.
  • Secured a $200,000 NYS Empire State Development Corporation grant awarded to expand processing of food scraps and other organic materials at Cayuga Compost in Trumansburg.
  • Expanded single stream and food scrap recycling in rural mobile home parks (recognized in a national magazine article)
  • Hired a Communications Coordinator and Implemented an outreach campaign to promote single-stream recycling.
  • Improved paving and signage at the Recycling Center
  • Contracted with a web consultant to upgrade our website

Town of Caroline

  • Adopted a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing and gas drilling operations in the Town
  • Began planning for Solarize Tompkins Southeast, a program with 20 volunteers to bring affordable solar power to homes in Caroline

Town of Dryden

  • Hired a sustainability planner (shared with Town of Ithaca)
  • Continued use of ICLEI’s Five Milestones sustainability planning process
  • Began energy, cost, and emissions inventories for government operations and community
  • Decided to install solar panels on Town property through a solar lease
    • Installations on Town Hall and DPW Barn will begin in 2013
    • 70kw capacity will provide about 30% of the electricity needs for these buildings
  • Benchmarked Town Hall energy usage
  • Banned hydraulic fracturing in the Town through zoning laws
    • Won lawsuit against gas company disputing legality of ban
  • Released Hamlet of Varna Community Development Plan
    • One of the first plans to incorporate LEED neighborhood development bonuses
    • Improves transportation options and safety along Route 366 corridor
    • Won award from New York Planning Federation
    • Featured as a case study by the US EPA as an example of smart growth planning
    • Featured in the new version of Rural By Design by Randall Arendt
    • Will be featured in a display in the Sustainability Center in 2013
  • Started energy efficiency improvements at the jointly owned wastewater plant (IAWWTF)
    • Once completed, plant will provide 60% of its own energy needs
  • Discussed energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy installations at the jointly owned water treatment plant (Bolton Point)
  • Supported the development of the Sustainability Center and the ongoing efforts of the Green Resource Hub through Town staff board membership

Town of Ithaca

  • Hired a sustainability planner (shared with Town of Dryden) and a sustainability intern
  • Continued use of ICLEI’s Five Milestones sustainability planning process
  • Began work on Community Energy Action Plan, scheduled for release in 2013
    • Completed initial community outreach and appointed citizen advisory committee
  • Continued implementation of the Government Energy Action Plan, with goal of reducing GHG emissions 30% by 2020
    • Started energy efficiency improvements at the jointly owned wastewater plant (IAWWTF)
      • Once completed, plant will provide 60% of its own energy needs
    • Discussed energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy installations at the jointly owned water treatment plant (Bolton Point)
    • Began assessing feasibility of:
      • Installing solar panels on Town property and
      • Purchasing power from local wind farm and/or renewable energy credits
  • Continued work on sustainability-infused Comprehensive Plan, scheduled for release in 2013
    • Dedicated Energy and Climate chapter
    • Released monthly e-newsletter and redesigned website
  • Passed stream setback law to protect water quality in streams and Cayuga Lake
  • Supported the Village of Cayuga Heights in its sustainability efforts
  • Supported the Forest Home Improvement Association’s neighborhood sustainability efforts
  • Assisted the development of the Sustainability Center and the ongoing efforts of the Green Resource Hub through Town staff board membership
  • Communicated sustainability efforts in Town operations and in the community

Travis Hyde Properties

  • Contracted for a 19.3 kW photovoltaic installation on the roof of the Clinton House
  • Began Combined Heat & Power feasibility engineering study for Center Ithaca and surrounding properties with ASI Energy
  • Completed NYSEG's Small Business Energy Efficiency Program for entire portfolio, in total, replacing over 2,300 lighting fixtures
  • Exclusive purchasing of Energy Star appliances for residential apartments

Weaver Wind Energy

  • Installed first 2 prototype turbines in January
  • Went through extensive testing of the prototype turbines and began designing our beta unit turbines
  • Projected turbine certification by spring 2014
  • Produced two company videos and a company website to explain our story
  • Began design of our own 127' tilt up tower
  • Received a large technology development and product commercialization grant from NYSERDA
  • Presented at six local energy teach in events.